Offer accepted. Now where’s the job?

Dear S:

I was thrilled when you emailed me a few weeks ago asking if I’d be available to take on a book project starting in April. I enjoyed our previous collaboration, and looked forward to working with you again.

As you know, I emailed you the following day and said that, yes indeed, I would be available. I asked you for details. You said you would phone me sometime that week. However, I was in Mexico, staying at a hotel with an uncertain landline connection. I asked if we could chat after I got home. You said, “Great! Enjoy the rest of your holiday.”

I returned home a week later. I emailed you to say I was now available to talk, and eager to hear the details. You didn’t reply. After a week I emailed you again. This time you did reply. Briefly. You said you were busy and didn’t have time to phone. But you thought you had found a “match” for the DW book job so my services were no longer required.

How did this thing go off the tracks? Why did you recruit someone else after I’d already told you I was available? Was it because you needed to get this job nailed down, and couldn’t wait another week to talk to me by phone? If so, you should have said so when I responded to your first email. A word of explanation would have been appreciated.

If I had known, I could have expedited the process. It would have been no problem for me to make arrangements to phone you from Mexico. But my understanding of our email exchange was that a week’s delay would make no difference. Book projects don’t usually carry the same urgency as newspaper or magazine assignments. This one wasn’t due to begin for at least another five weeks.

I’ve since emailed you asking why you hired another writer. Another eight days have passed, and you haven’t replied. At this point, I can only conclude you don’t intend to respond. Why the silence? In the writing and publishing business our words are our currency. Our success depends on how well we communicate with our clients and readers. Maybe we should reflect occasionally on how we might do a better job communicating with one another.



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